This Non-Profit Is Building 3D Printed Tiny Houses for Families in Rural Mexico

published Dec 20, 2019
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There’s a non-profit out there whose work is changing the way we tackle homelessness. New Story, whose team has built over 2,000 homes in South America and Mexico since its inception in 2014, partnered with Austin based construction tech company, ICON to develop a 3D printer that has allowed them to break ground on the world’s first 3D printed community. 

Their newest project will provide homes for financially deserving families in a rural area of Mexico, wherein many of the citizens bring in $3 per day. “These families are the most vulnerable, and in the lowest income [and] they’re living on about an average of $3 a day,” said Brett Hagler, CEO and co-founder of New Story. He told CNN, “They’re living in literally a pieced-together shack that during the rainy season, it will rain and it will flood their shack. Some of the women even said that the water will go up to their knees when it rains, sometimes for months.”

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To make the magic happen, they’re using Vulcan II, a 3D printer designed by ICON that took three years of prototyping to create. The 33-foot printer is capable of producing two houses simultaneously in 24 hours over several days, using a concrete mix that builds the walls layer by layer. Residents of Tabasco currently live in makeshift homes made out of any material available to them, leading to horrid housing conditions during the wet season.

Their goal is to complete 50 houses by the end of 2020, all of which are designed in partnership with the families that will occupy the space in an attempt to assure that their immediate and long-term needs are met. One person who’s most anxious for the new space is 8-year-old Alan. “The thing I am most excited about for my new house is having my own room where I can read,” he said. “Where I live now, we can’t read much, because, when our parents bought us books, they would always get wet because of rain coming in through the roof. I am excited to read in my new home.”

The 500 square-foot homes are equipped with two bedrooms, one bathroom, living room, and kitchen. “It is so rare that the-most-in-need of our sisters and brothers globally get first access to advanced technologies and breakthroughs in materials science,” said ICON CEO and co-founder Jason Ballard. Together, ICON and New Story are making livable, affordable housing an option for people around the world.